This was my third time seeing Bishop Briggs in as many years. From opening up for Alt-J in late 2017 to her powerful headlining performance at L’Astral in 2018 in support of Church of Scars (which made the number one spot on my Bucketlist top ten albums of last year), this night had a lot to live up to. It’s a bit of an unorthodox time to be touring, Briggs is between albums, but there are two singles available which will be on the new album and I was stoked for a preview of what to expect from the next full release.
I was struck hard by the positive energy and good vibes put out there by opening act Jax Anderson (Detroit, MI) who showed up to warm up the crowd but did so much more than that. It’s never necessarily required of an opening act to pour their soul into a set that’s usually only 30-40 minutes but Anderson did exactly that! From the get go Anderson had the crowd working, arms raised, crouched on the floor, exploding into dance for her banger “Queen,” which is a killer blend of electro-pop and hip hop. Through all of the energy and brash attitude that Anderson conveys through her music, she remains so humbled and clearly grateful for the opportunity to present her art, something I’m positive I said in so many words about Bishop Briggs the first time I saw her. Good people gravitate towards good people. If you’re looking for a little boost in affirmative energy check out the single “Real Love” and bask in all them fucking good vibes.
Miya Folick (Los Angeles, CA) presented a softer, intimate energy but continued in the vein of keeping spirits high. Clearly a lot of thought and effort went into choosing the artists for this tour and the crowd showed it’s appreciation by hanging onto every moment of it. I just got a Lifehouse flashback. It’s incredibly tough to put a label on Folick’s music, something I’m sure she takes pride in as her Facebook page lists “??” as the genre. I’ll take a stab at it anyhow, I guess it’s my job… very reminiscent of St. Vincent, pop at its core but much more eccentric and electronic overall. “Cost Your Love” and “Stop Talking” from 2018’s Premonitions are nice examples; elements that kick back to 80s new wave with a modern twist. Folick’s live performance was very free flowing and unreserved, opening up the possibility for great things to happen, almost as if they have a slight punk rock approach hidden beneath the electro/new wave aesthetic. I’ll be following this band closely going forward, I implore you to do the same.
Bishop Briggs often gets compared to a boxer or fighter on stage; in part because of her sporty attire and also because of how much she moves around, so it only makes sense that she would open with one of her latest singles “Champion.” Self proclaimed or not, Briggs presented herself like a champion, darting between her keyboardist/guitarist and drummer, both of whom were on risers towards the back of the stage, no small feat given the limited stage space Club Soda offers. Touring in between albums can be challenging, you don’t want to re-hash the same set, the crowd is not familiar with the new and unreleased material and often it can all fall sort of flat. Under these circumstances, I’d say Briggs did a satisfactory job of constructing a unique setlist and maintaining fresh momentum. Playing the best bits of Church of Scars, Briggs also mixed in a medley of covers “Stressed Out,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “Welcome To The Black Parade” (that’s Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, and My Chemical Romance respectively). Describing it as a personal dream of hers, Briggs also gave us a peek into what are some of her biggest influences. Though she is an electronic pop artist I can see that early to mid aughts emo scene shining through in a lot of her music.
It would have been cool for “River” to have been thrown in somewhere mid set but Briggs chose to close with it again. You can’t fault her though, champions always keep that extra something special for the later rounds.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy